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Fire on the premises of Röchling Automotiv in Peine, Germany

Röchling Automotive Peine (Germany):

Professional Efforts Prevent Fire from Spreading, Damage Contained

Peine, Germany, April 7, 2011...Yesterday a fire destroyed a 1,200-square-meter warehouse on the premises of Röchling Automotive in Peine, Germany, in its entirety.

Due to the competence, prudence, and professionalism of everyone involved, it was possible to isolate the source of the fire, keep it under control, and prevent the flames from spreading to other buildings. 

In particular, the electrical distribution equipment, which is responsible for not only Röchling Automotive’s power supply, as well as the eight plastic silos located about 15 meters away were spared from spreading flames.

Efforts to extinguish the flames were successful in every respect. Although the warehouse burned completely to the ground, it was possible to protect and preserve the entire surrounding area.

“We have tremendous respect for the efforts shown here, and we are very grateful that no one was hurt by the fire. We would also like to thank those who were affected by the smoke from the fire for their understanding; the smoke was blown by the wind in a northeasterly direction. Various measurements taken by the fire department indicated that closing doors and windows was an adequate response,” said Ulrich Mauss, Executive Vice President of Röchling Automotive. 

The cause of the fire is being investigated further. Presumably, the fire was triggered by a malfunction in the electrical distribution box. 

The warehouse that burned down stored finished parts and semi-finished products made from plastic as well as sacks and octabins of the granulate needed to manufacture these items.

The merchandise value of these items is estimated to be EUR 1 million, according to current information. Finished parts and semi-finished products were in part stored in the customers’ own shipping boxes, which were consumed by the flames along with the warehouse walls. The shipping boxes and granulate must be reordered, and the semi-finished and finished parts must be produced again.

The reconstruction of the warehouse, which will be completed within the next five months, will entail building costs of about EUR 400,000.

As a result of the fire, the last hour of the early shift was canceled. All employees were evacuated. Similarly, the late shift had to be largely called off, leading to the loss of about ten hours of production.

Total damages will be in the range of about EUR 2 million, according to current estimates.

For an automotive supplier, it is particularly important that the supply of customer assembly lines not be threatened. If shutdowns were to occur here, meaning that assembly lines came to a complete standstill, then claims for damages for about EUR 2,000 per minute per idled assembly line would be expected. In order to avoid such an impact, Röchling Automotive – like other automotive suppliers – has taken preventive measures that would mitigate the effects of supply disruptions. 

“As a result of safety stocks, disaster recovery plans, and the flexibility of our employees, it will be possible to resolve the problems arising from the fire without any impact on customers,” Ulrich Mauss explained.

He elaborated: “Our ability to deliver goods is ensured for both today and tomorrow. We will also be able to service production taking place on Saturday at certain customers. For a few products, special transportation and special measures will be required; however, overall Röchling can continue to manufacture and ensure just-in-time (JIT) delivery.”

In particular, he emphasized: “We would like to express our gratitude once again for the assistance we received from the fire department, the police and its press spokesperson, and the residents of the city of Peine. However, our executives, employees, and shop council members, who acted with prudence and commitment, also deserve our special thanks.”

In the coming days and weeks, Röchling Automotive will continue to work expeditiously and intensively to minimize damages from the fire.